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Aluminum USB Microscope a total failure **RESOLVED**
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Aluminum USB Microscope a total failure **RESOLVED**

by danatcbl on Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:16 am

I recently bought the aluminum USB microscope and it has been nothing but a lemon, and the documentation available for it has been rather lacking. The mini-CD that came in the box had two documents, both written in Chinese, along with some mystery application called "amcap" that sat on the desktop and did precisely nothing. The product page "download" tab had a slightly more helpful folder of manuals and some Windows applications. Running the "setup.exe" file on my Windows 7 PC loaded a viewing window that was blank except for a message "no Device detected, please connect your Magnifier directly to your PC USB port", even though the microscope was connected directly to a USB port. When I connected the microscope, The PC helpfully told me that device driver was successfully installed, and the LEDs turned on. Restarting the MicroCapture app again produced a "no device detected" error message. I then went checked the English manual and found out that I may have installed things out of order. I disconnected the USB plug and uninstalled the MicroCapture app from Control Panel. Starting fresh, I plugged the USB back in and from the MicroCapture app menu page, clicked "install microscope driver". The InstallShield got almost done and then returned a message "No find match device, please insert camera first!", but the camera was connected and the LEDs were on. I got the same result from the "install MicroCapture driver" option. I attempted to be very thorough before I complained, but things just got worse. I tried two other W 7 PCs, one real, one virtualized. Both had the same result. I then tried to make the microscope work on a Mac (which was my original intention all along). Despite the product page claiming that it works with Quicktime, that application failed to do so on two different Macs, one a new MacBook Pro (Mountain Lion), and another a Mac Mini with Lion. The REALLY disappointing thing is that I did manage to get it to work on both Macs, but it only worked on Photo Booth on both Macs, and additionally in FaceTime on the MacBook Pro. This was the very opposite of success because even that minor victory was a really total failure, because even when the image capture did work on both of the Macs the image was mirrored, i.e., completely reversed! That's right, the view was totally backwards! Short of blowing the fuses on my PC, this microscope has pretty much failed in every possible way.

I would like to know if there is any to fix for this fiasco before it goes back into the box and gets returned.
Last edited by danatcbl on Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Aluminum USB Microscope a total failure

by adafruit_support_rick on Tue Aug 13, 2013 12:46 pm

Dan -
Sorry you're having so many problems.

Let's start with Windows. From your post, it sounds like you've already done all this, but let's just go back and go through it step-by-step. It maybe wouldn't hurt to reboot Windows, and you probably also want to try a different USB port than you used before. Also, we have reports of various strange issues with USB3.0 ports; try to use a USB2.1 port, or a self-powered USB hub if your computer doesn't have any USB2.1 ports.

- First, plug in the microscope.

- On the mini-CD, there should be a program called MicroCapture.exe - that's the one you want to run, not DrvSetup.exe or Setup.exe
then click on "Install microscope driver". This will bring up an InstallShield Wizard. You've already installed the driver, I think, but it's probably a good idea to do it again, so select "Repair" in the installShield Wizard.

- When that's finished, click on the "Install Microcapture Driver" button. This will install the MicroCapture Application. When the installation wizard is finished, the application should start automatically. If not, start it manually.

You probably have "auto-play" disabled on your CD drive, and that's how this whole mess got started. I had the same problem, and went through the same steps you did: running setup, and then running DrvSetup. Finally, I looked at the AutoRun script, and that's where I discovered that I should have been running MicroCapture.exe.

Now, on the Mac -
- All that should be necessary there is to move MicroCapture.app from the disc to the Applications folder. That works with the black microscope we stock, but we've had mixed reports about the aluminum microscope. That's why we started recommending QuickTime Player. I don't have one of the aluminum ones, so I can't say for sure what will happen for you.

- Plug in the microscope, then run QuickTime Player from the Applications folder.

- From the File menu, select 'New Movie Recording'. The player window should open up with the video feed from microscope

- I also want to point out this post: viewtopic.php?f=44&t=35824&p=210991#p210991

The user found a really nice Mac app that works with the Black microscope (don't know about the Aluminum). I checked it out - it's a lot better than even the Windows app that comes with the microscope.

http://edhsw.com/mixscope/

Downside is that it's $18. But it works in trial mode so you can see what you think of it.

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Re: Aluminum USB Microscope a total failure

by PeterCheng on Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:09 pm

The software installation for this USB microscope is a bit tricky on Windows 7, when plugged into the USB port Windows 7 automatically installed a driver for it and it's the wrong driver
- control panel/system/device manager/imaging devices/venus usb 2.0 camera
- uninstalled this dirver
- use the driver install program on the CD, after it's finished you'll find
- control panel/systme/device manager/imaging devices/digital microscope
- reboot
- install micro capture program from CD

Cheers!
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Re: Aluminum USB Microscope a total failure

by adafruit_support_rick on Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:18 pm

Peter -
Good point about Windows installing the wrong driver automatically.
It didn't do that here, but I can imagine it could happen on other systems, depending on what other devices have been installed.

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Re: Aluminum USB Microscope a total failure

by danatcbl on Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:50 pm

Things have gotten a little better since my first post. I discovered how to get the Quick Time player to show the camera view [correctly]. That is a plus. I am still having that weird quirk where Photo Booth in Mac shows the image mirrored, as the screenshots show. That is not such a big deal now that I got Quick Time to work, but it is an indication of something still a little bit squirrly with the unit.
Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 12.45.10 PM.png
correct view in Quick Time
Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 12.45.10 PM.png (313.74 KiB) Viewed 6429 times



The Photo Booth view of the same item
Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 12.38.15 PM.png
Photo Booth View
Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 12.38.15 PM.png (300.56 KiB) Viewed 6429 times


As for the Mini-CD, all it contained was some documents in Chinese and an .exe file called amcap. I have been using the MicroCapture V2.5 download folder from the link on the product download page.

When I try to run the Microcapture.exe from the download folder with the microscope connected, this happens: (and I did try this in every USB port on my desktop)

warning2.jpg
warning2.jpg (142.1 KiB) Viewed 6429 times


I will have more screenshots in the next post, as we are only allowed three per post.

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Re: Aluminum USB Microscope a total failure

by danatcbl on Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:00 pm

CONTINUING FROM LAST POST....

Checking the Device Manager, Imaging Devices shows the camera as being connected:

usb.jpg
usb.jpg (139.02 KiB) Viewed 6428 times


Similarily on the Mac, System Information shows it as being present:

Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 1.19.43 PM.png
Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 1.19.43 PM.png (247.95 KiB) Viewed 6428 times


but the MicroCapture.app also returns a error message when trying to start it:

warning.jpg
warning.jpg (92.42 KiB) Viewed 6428 times

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Re: Aluminum USB Microscope a total failure

by adafruit_support_rick on Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:32 pm

Yechh.

But I guess it all makes sense - obviously, something changed with the aluminum microscopes. They used to work with MicroCapture.

At least QuickTime Player works.

Did you get a chance to check out the miXscope app?

If you're not happy with any of these solutions, please feel free to email support@adafruit.com and they will arrange a refund.

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Re: Aluminum USB Microscope a total failure

by danatcbl on Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:48 pm

Okay, I got the miXscope app (trial version) and not only does it shows the correct view, the microscope works quite well with it on my MacBook Pro. Because of that I will have to say that the 'scope is a keeper. It is a little bit annoying that I need to buy a separate app to make it work correctly, but weighed against the cost and hassle of returning the unit, I can swallow that pill. Accordingly, I will treat this thread as "resolved."

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Re: Aluminum USB Microscope a total failure

by adafruit_support_rick on Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:20 pm

I'm glad to hear it worked out for you. I agree with you about having to buy a separate app - we don't promote it on the product page, and only recommend it in cases like this. Unfortunately, we're at the mercy of the manufacturer of the scopes for the software.

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Re: Aluminum USB Microscope a total failure **RESOLVED**

by seamiki on Sun Oct 30, 2016 4:40 am

The USB microscope is equivalent to a webcam.
You can use the Processing example sketch for the video library. Selecting the right camera device (in my case was 16 in the list of available devices). The app will show the video from the microscope.

You do not have access to the physical buttons on the device but you can implement capture of stills by software easily (Better solution since you do not move the microscope while taking a picture but you do it from your pc).
Hope that this will help in the struggle for windows 10 drivers installation.
I never used a microscope before so I can't compare quality, but the image on the screen is pretty decent and I can say that the microscope will get the job done.
I took a picture from the front camera of the phone on a low resolution due to upload size limits: apologies if it is not very clear but at least demonstrates the working of this simple solution with java on windows 10.
Processing can be downloaded at processing.org.
The only thing remaining to do is the led dimming from the processing sketch...
Happy hacking!
Seamiki
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